Sorry, I know since x-mas I’ve been less than strict with my posts. They seem to have become lost by the wayside due to work, laziness and shiny objects distracting me.
I’ll quickly re-cap the last two weeks, got back to work n the 4th, quiet quiet times. The city was dead, no cars, no people, it was glorious. Everyone but me was still on vacation, so I just hung around the office drinking free coffee and chatting.
Then BAM Monday 9th rolls round, explosion of work. Monday 9th started out with myself and two of my colleagues going to see the CEO of a small business to write an article about for our company. Let me start by saying I despise the products this company makes. They physically make me want to gouge out my eyes using a rusty nail. They are cheap, tacky and appeal to only the basest of idiots who need to be told what is ‘cool’ as their three neurons don’t meet up more than once a year. So we drove 3 hours out of town to go to the HQ of this company, the drive was actually pretty nice, I slept most of the way there and back. Anyhow, we arrived and we interviewed the guy. Who by the way, was a complete shark. Small, cold, dead eyes, too many sharp, tiny teeth, and a killer instinct that made me bristle. The more he told us the less I liked him. His company has assembly plants in China that are somehow in trouble with the Chinese government for not adhering to health standards. News to me as I was unaware that Mainland China had any health standards whatsoever. Oh also his brother is trying to shut him down, and his brother is the local governor. Fun Times! At the end of the meeting in a forced and staged method, my colleagues and I were presented with the company product. Seriously trashy stuff. I smiled serenely as I thanked our ‘gracious’ host, in my mind I was finding ways to get rid of this monstrosity asap. Could I throw it in the river or would it float? Is there an active volcano? Maybe I could cover it in meat and feed it to a bear? Would the bear get sick from the glitter and plastic?
Anyway the damn thing is now sitting in my room, as I haven’t yet re-gifted it.
Guys and gals, that was just Monday. Tuesday I wrote up my interview notes and did research on accessory distributors. One of the things I least like doing is market research of that kind. I basically find around 100 companies and then work my way through the list trying to discover their Share Capital Issue, their annual turnover and the services they provide and with whom. Out of 100 companies, there might be three which fit the necessary criteria. Which to be honest is not the part that annoys me, because it’s like being a really boring detective. It’s that when I have a list of around 10 decent prospective candidates that someone either changes the criteria or states that although nice, they changed their minds. That means about a days work for absolutely nothing. Kinda brutal.
Wednesday was fun. A month or so before X-mas I got an email from some highschool honor students who want to go to some pretty exclusive colleges writing to me asking if they could come in with a list of questions for us to answer as their final research paper would be an economy paper on comparative markets of here and Japan. So I told them to come in on Wednesday. They had sent me the preliminary questions last week. On the whole the questions were pretty trenchant and interesting but some were redundant, like: What are the main differences between here and Japan?
I mean really? Let’s see kids, size, population, purchasing power, culture, history, art, baseball teams, bubblegum flavors, and everything else you can imagine. K2 and I made them some hand-outs with market data reports for the countries they were interested in, companies that were active in both markets, and any other things we thought they might be interested in. Only K2 kept making hand-outs in Japanese, and despite my best efforts to explain that they probably didn’t speak Japanese, my warnings went un-heeded. Wednesday appeared as it usual does, between Tuesday and Thursday, and the three highschool girls appeared at the office. I took them down to a conference room and briefly quizzed them about school, what colleges they wanted to attend, and what majors they wanted to do. They seemed more than a little nervous. I calmed them down by telling them that whatever you major in you don’t usually have to study until the night before exams, they cracked up and seemed to relax a little. Then K2 came in and re-froze the ice I had just broken. K2 likes ice, and she doesn’t approve of me breaking it. The three girls stiffened up, backs straight, eyes front, mouse-like voices. K2 began to do the thing I hate. Having carefully collected a lot of information concerning the questionnaire the girls sent us, she proceeded to read the handouts. She gave the girls each the exact same handout that she possessed and then insisted on reading it to them.
About halfway through the first page being read out to us I noticed two of the girls looking at each other with an air of deep puzzlement. I looked down at the page to see what could be causing it and noticed that a good paragraph or so seemed to be made up of acronyms. I spent the rest of the read-out-loud session interrupting K2 every time the kids looked confused. Finally at the end of what seemed to be an interminable hour, K2 finished, asked if they had questions, which they did not, and left. I started to usher the kids out, but they started asking questions. Apparently K2 had so traumatized them that they preferred not asking, but given the opportunity didn’t mind asking me as I “explained normally”. After a quick Q&A session they left.
I went back up to my office and K2’s head appeared “They looked pretty young didn’t they? Never seen grad-students look that young!” I grinned at K2 “They weren’t grad-students… Why would you think that?”
K2 cracked a smile back, “Oh, that makes more sense because some stuff they didn’t seem to get, so they are what 23, 24?”
My grin hid somewhere in the recesses of my arsenal of facial expressions as I started to stammer “N-n-n-no, they’re-they’re highschools kids, sev-seve-seenteen…” after a pause K2 nodded slowly “So that’s why they looked so young…”
The sentence trailed off and K2 left me to wonder how those kids could have appeared 10yrs older than they were to my colleague.
The week continued to get peculiar, I have been trying to book rooms for a 2 different conferences for the last week and still don’t have any confirmations which is worrying as if this goes on much longer I doubt there will be a damn conference. ALSO the dates change on a daily basis so I’m being annoying with the bookings. Thursday was marred by a call from a guy who is nearing 90 asking me to produce his invention and to help him publish a book. My company does neither of those things so I’m unsure why he contacted us. He also doesn’t have a computer, and is coming in today to see me. Although I already explained that it is pointless. I’ll write more about him after I meet him because the story is quite interesting if a little weird.
The final out of the ordinary thing was on Friday when a guy from a famous daily newspaper called up to ask me about taxes and VAT…. Why? I explained that he’d have better luck calling the treasury department or revenue services or something like that, but he was adamant. So on Friday I became an expert on taxes, which as soon as I went to the bar I forgot.